Spring teased us this week! We had gorgeous weather for a week or so then the cold, wintery winds blow back into the STATE and shut down baseball, and most other outside activities, for a while. Prior to the Ol’ Man Winter visiting us again, we saw signs of baseball. Take a look…
The Howell Vikings, rated #1 in St. Louis large school baseball, demonstrated their strength as they rumbled through the Troy Tournament. The Vikings went 5-0 as they won by scores of 11-2, 16-1, 11-2, 9-1 and won the Championship over the defending STATE Class 4 Champion and the #2 ranked Large school team, the CBC Cadets 10-3. Gordie Gundaker, Brett Peel and Jake Ivory have been the leading hitters in this busy first week for Coach Tony Perkins. Howell hosts the Midwest Classic this week as several top teams from St. Louis, Missouri and OOT teams participate. Glennbrook North of Chicago and Windward (LA), and Waukegan are the teams coming in to play in this busy week of baseball. Interestingly, note that Coach Perkins has his kids jump right into the thick of things with two powerful tournaments in the first two weeks. No better way to find out about your strengths and weaknesses than to face the best teams around the area.
There are other teams off to quick starts this year. The Vianney Golden Griffins are 4-0 under first year Head Coach Scott Brown. Coach Brown is not a newcomer however. He had previously been the Head Coach at CBC for 18 years. Vianney has outscored its four opponents 53-13 in their four wins. Ryan Barnes, Nick Ulrich and Ryan Snyder are all carrying around .600+ averages for four games. The Golden Griffins will compete in the Midwest Classic this week.
Notre Dame (Cape) is 2-0 after handling Sikeston 11-7 in SEMO Conference action last week. Falling behind 5-4 after 3 innings, ND banged out 15 hits, stole 5 bases and ran wild on the bases as they continually went for that extra base. Winning pitcher Cody Heisserer helped out his own cause by punching out two hits and knocking one over the boards. ND is always one of the powerhouse programs of the STATE.
Off to a sizzling 3-0 start are the Parkway South Patriots. The Pats have toppled their three opponents by an aggregate score of 31-5! Anthony Duke (.778) and Danny Holst (.625) are the early season batting leaders for South.
Often on the STATE scene are the Benton Cardinals (2-0). Coach Mike Musser's team had a terrific come-from-behind win over Lafayette (St Joseph) 11-10. Trailing early 4-0 and still behind 10-7 after the middle of the 6th inning, the Cardinals capitalized on the control issues of the Fighting Irish. 17 Cardinal batters drew walks including 5 in succession in the rally-tying bottom of the 6tth. Matt Prichett drove home the game winner in the 7th Pritchett had a busy, successful day. He was on base five times with two hits and three walks and hurled 4.3 innings as the Cardinals win an early season game that may set the tone in later games this season. St Joe Central will face Benton in the Championship game of the City Tournament when weather permits.
On the other side of the coin, a team to watch this year is Oak Ridge (2-0). Defeating a demesis, the Delta Bobcats last week 11-0, Oak Ridge rode the 5 inning perfect game of Brett Thomas. The Bobcats had beaten Oak Ridge twice in 2010. Thomas, Mizzou bound to play baseball next year, hopes to push Oak Ridge just a bit deeper into the playoffs. Each of the last 2 years, Oak Ridge has been just one win away from the Final Four. It was all Thomas in this game—13 of the 15 outs were strikeouts, he was 4-4 with 3 ribbies. Oak Ridge has scored 25 runs during their first two games which is elevating their hopes after losing the past 2 years when their bats went silent in STATE quarterfinals.
How about this run differential, the Washington Bluejays (2-0) have outscored their opponents 32-3 in their first two games. There are six players hitting between .500 and .725 and three players are 1 for 1 so they own a 1.000 avergae. No one expects this type of prolific hitting to continue in the tough Gateway Athletic North Conference.
Some other 2-0 teams are scattered all over the St. Louis area. The Pacific Indians of the Four Rivers Conference, the Perryville Pirates from the Jefferson County League and the Fox Warriors are all unbeaten after a two game opening week. Let’s follow these teams closely as the season unfolds.
Some teams had red-hot games despite the chilly temps last week. Rock Bridge (2-1) rallied as it used a 2-run double by Travis Bittle down the right field line in the bottom of the 7th to grab an 8-7 win over the Eureka Wildcats. Bittle had fouled of five consecutive full count pitches prior to smacking his game winner. Five fouls on 3-2?
You know, sometimes some team or player just seem to have our number. I’m sure that So. Boone feels that way about Hickman. So. Boone was tied with the bases full and no one out in the bottom of the 7th when Hickman worked their way out of the jam and scored a run in the 8th inning to win 5-4. Two of the last 3 games against the Kewpies have gone to extra innings as the Eagles seek their first win over their larger neighbors from Columbia.
On Wednesday, Prepcasts will announce its 2010-11 Basketball Prime Time Players. Having covered over 150 basetball games LIVE this year, the Prepcasts announcing corp has a personal “look” like no one else. We’ve seen teams from all over Missouri. Check it out as you’ll see the best of Missouri and then click on our spring schedule has it elevates its activity this week. We’ll be covering the Midwest Classic for a couple games as well as several other games. It’s all on www.prepcasts.com